Not All AJAX Viewers are Created Equal

AJAX universal document viewers have become an integral part of document processing, workflow and productivity for many organizations, but not all of these products offer comparable functionality, features and benefits. Choosing the one that is right for your application can make all the difference for optimal ease-of-use and enhanced collaboration and communication across your firm’s enterprise.

Web-accessible viewers enable powerful and secure document and image viewing functionality for users from virtually anywhere, independent of the application used to create the document (Word, Excel, PDF, etc), a great advantage for today’s on-the-go workforce. Document and image viewers have become an integral part of forms processing and document management solutions in many industries including: the insurance industry for efficient claims and forms processing, the banking and financial services industries to expedite transactions, and the healthcare industry for secure access to patient medical records.

A major consideration to look for in an application is one that provides a pure HTML solution with NO client installation (or Zero Footprint) as this will ensure optimal performance without the need for client-side upgrades or ongoing IT support. Some ‘AJAX’ viewers require Flash to be installed on the client – requiring regular updates as well as frequent security updates. Flash is a proprietary format to which you must convert your documents in order for the viewer to work, and Flash is not supported on the Macintosh, (for more on that – see Steve Jobs article HERE).There are ongoing costs and IT maintenance required to the back end systems that are used to convert documents and images to the Flash format, which may affect performance. There are better mobile document viewing solutions – true installation free, cross-platform viewers that work with open standards and no proprietary format.

A browser-based pure HTML AJAX application enables content to be viewed from virtually anywhere, even via a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone, based upon user permission level, providing a powerful universal Web viewing solution. No client-side installation also ensures true cross-platform support, enabling efficient document viewing to all approved users, regardless of operating system or browser. This also makes it a perfect viewing solution for situations when you have no control of the end user environment. One of the biggest advantages for end users of AJAX viewers is that it’s installation-free, and therefore maintenance-free.

AJAX viewing solutions have powerful server-side functionality enabling robust capabilities such as Page on Demand technology – eliminating the need to download entire documents – access only those pages requested by the user for greatly enhancing high-speed viewing.  Other server-side capabilities provide document manipulation (rotate, zoom, redact, annotate), navigation via document thumbnails, access to document repositories and integration with enterprise applications.

The bottom line – when looking for a document and image viewing solution – doing a bit of homework into installation requirements, as well as available features and functionality – can pay huge dividends. ‘No client install’ systems enable on-the-go professionals’ secure, hassle-free access to the information they need while minimizing support requirements, keeping both end users and IT support staff productive.